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Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta-hCG,total HCG, HCG, b-HCG,bHCG,Human Chorionic Gonadotropin / Pregnancy Test

Beta-HCG

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is the pregnancy hormone. This test measures a very specific part of hCG in the blood: its beta subunit. The beta-hCG test is used to diagnose and monitor pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy—a pregnancy in which the fertilized egg is implanted and develops outside the uterus; risk of miscarriage), placental diseases (gestational trophoblastic disease such as hydatiform moles) and germ cell (ovary or testicle) tumours.

Beta-hCG is detectable within days of fertilization. Blood levels typically double every two days during the first four weeks of pregnancy and then roughly every 3.5 days at 6 weeks. HCG levels drop rapidly following childbirth or miscarriage and should be undetectable within a few weeks. If beta-hCG levels do not become undetectable, it can indicate that hCG-producing tissue is still present and that curettage may be indicated.

Positive hCG levels in men and in women outside of pregnancy is consistent with the presence of a germ cell tumour. Falling beta-hCG levels indicate that the tumour is responding to treatment, while stable or rising levels indicate that the tumour is not responding. Increases in post-treatment levels may indicate a recurrence of the disease.

Term of the Week

Breast cancer

Breast cancer: This is a malignant tumour made up of many cancerous cells. It should be noted that breast cancer is not the most common cause of breast pain, as patients of this disease are often asymptomatic.